Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne looks at two recent game company events, one negative, one positive.

High end miniatures game company CMON appears to have significant problems with its audit report for 2019, causing it to push back the release date of the report to an unspecified future date.  This caused trading in the company’s stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange to stop the first of the month. Near as I can tell, at the time trading in the stock closed, one share was valued at HK$.07 (that’s 7 cents in Hong Kong dollars).  This translates to (at the current rate of exchange and if my figures are correct) under 1 cent per share in US dollars.  The value of the stock has dropped about 25% over the past year. [Note: CMON provided some additional information on one of the audit issues delaying the report, see "CMON Releases More Info on ‘Going Concern’ Issue," ed.]

Meanwhile, even in this time of pandemic and a tightening economy, if customers want a new game, it appears the current economic situation will not dissuade them.  Frosthaven, the follow-up game to 2017’s smash hit Gloomhaven from Cephalofair Games (probably shouldn’t mention Founders of Gloomhaven or Forbidden Circles as I have seen those on clearance at a number of stores), launched on Kickstarter on March 31, hardly an auspicious time to do so, with a goal of $500,000.  As of today, with nineteen days to go, Cephalofair Games has already raised over $7.1 million to fund production. With the campaign ending on May 1, I can easily see the campaign pulling in $10 million and maybe even $15 million before it wraps up.

Since the announced MSRP for the game is $160 but backers on Kickstarter can get it for $100 plus shipping, the (current) 12,000+ backers for the game are getting a pretty good deal, although they do have to wait until March of 2021 to collect the game.  The (current) 350+ retailers who backed the game, much less so.  Their Kickstarter price is $80, but shipping gets added onto that (which is reasonable given the weight of the game), which takes the cost to the retailer up to $108 per copy, reducing that 50% gross margin to 32.5%.  Retailers do only have to put down $30 at the time of pledging, with that $30 getting applied as a credit to the final number of copies of the game they purchase, once finalized.  Unfortunately, the campaign does not indicate when the finalization takes place, beyond a reference to Fall of 2020.

Much like Gloomhaven (which has crept back into the $200 range now), Frosthaven will likely prove very popular and hard to stock for the first couple of months after it releases, so retailers wanting to foster their image as having the hottest new releases on hand might want to pledge before the campaign closes.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of